Ok this is it. Chapter 1 of my 3 chaptered ficlet (love that word!) and I came up with this pairing randomly one day... not sure why but I really think it could work...

Atlus owns Trauma Center but not Dr Melanie Sharp or Dr Jean-Claude Leblanc, they are mine.


She was running… she was always running… she had to get to Emilio before the GUILT killed him.

"Heather! Heather it hurts!" Emilio was crying out for her but she couldn't reach him in time…

"Heather! ¿Por qué usted no me ayudará?" he was weeping over and over again… Why won't you help me?

"Emilio!" She was screaming but no sound was coming out of parted lips no matter how hard she tried…

"Emilio! Emilio! EMILIO!!"

Heather woke up bathed in sweat and screaming her lungs out with her neighbor hammering on their adjoining wall for her to shut up. She glanced at the sleek silver clock by her bed, it was 5:30 am, no wonder he was mad. She sat up shaking violently, knowing there was no way she'd be sleeping again in the hour before she would be getting up for work.

"That's four months running I've had that same nightmare," she thought wearily. Nothing had helped, she'd tried drugs, aromatherapy and even hypnotherapy but the nightmares returned night after night, making her so exhausted she barely keep her eyes open during the day. She staggered out of bed to her connecting bathroom to splash cold water on her face. Turning on the tap she glanced up at the mirror to see a pale, haggard face that she wasn't certain was her own. She gently touched her cheek, noticing it's rougher than usual texture and sighed. She had really let herself go after the death of her mother.

Tracey Mercer had passed away nearly two months ago, three days before Dr Stiles was due to operate on her to bring her out of her coma. She had developed a particularly vicious PGS which killed her nearly instantly as her body, which had been so weakened by the Neo-GUILT Bythos, was unable to fight anymore. Ever since then Heather had been suffering from clinical depression.

Heather sighed and twisted the tap to the 'off' position and leant on the basin edge, contemplating the razor that she kept there. She picked it up, admiring the glinting blades and then scrutinized the almost translucent skin and blue tinged veins on the inside of her wrists.

"Emilio, Mom… just a few little cuts would make all the pain go away…" she murmured softly, her eyes filling with tears. She placed the blades gently on the fragile skin, until suddenly a new thought hit her.

"Not now though, Angie and Derek will be here to pick me up for work in two hours and today will be the only day they arrive early enough to save me…" she frowned at this predicament, "no I'll wait until after the conference, Derek's going to Italy for a month to train some new doctors for the Italian branch of Caduceus, he can't interfere with me then." She smiled grimly and reluctantly put the razor back down on the sink and leaned out of the door to glance at her clock, it read 5:52.

"Well I might as well get ready now," she said tonelessly, trying to prepare herself mentally for the fortnight of medical conference she would be forced to attend.


This conference was held for six hours a day for two weeks, with best of international medicine in attendance. These conferences were held every three years to assess the progress modern medicine was making and the threat of medical terrorism. Thankfully this year there would be some good news to report, Heather thought tiredly as she made her way downstairs to meet her lift to the conference center. She was surprised to see the sleek black BMW that Derek drove already in the parking lot outside her apartment block. She walked over to the back door and slid onto the cream leather.

"Good morning Doctor Stiles, Hi Angie," She greeted them casually, smiling lightly when they responded likewise.

"Angie, run this past me one more time… why are we doing this?" Derek grumbled making Angie giggle into her Styrofoam cup of coffee.

"Because Derek, you are a world famous surgeon who has operated on more GUILT, Neo-GUILT and PGS victims than I've had hot dinners!" She explained patiently with a look of love in her eyes that made Heather jealous of what the miracle team shared.

"Yeah but it's boring! Apart from the report on Delphi it's all pompous old fools going on about something useless… Ow don't hit me while I'm driving Angie!"

"You deserve it…"

Heather tuned out from their cheerful banter and gazed out of the tinted window at the dawn breaking over the skyline of Angeles Bay.


When they arrived at the conference center, they were immediately glad that they had arrived nearly two hours early. The car park was almost overflowing with expensive looking vehicles, ranging from a moped that belonged to Leslie Sears; to a large silver campervan which belonged to a Canadian doctor who had brought his family with him for a holiday. It took Derek nearly fifteen minutes to find one of the very last spaces; however it was the furthest one away from the actual building… much to Derek's annoyance.

"Derek, we KNOW you are not happy because you have to walk 600ft to the Conference… Please shut up before I kill you!"

"But Angie-"

"No buts! Zip it!" Angie interrupted him angrily before squeezing his hand gently to show no hard feelings… Heather looked away from them. When they eventually reached the conference, Dr Tyler Chase came running towards them, waving his clipboard in a very menacing fashion.

"I have your seat numbers guys, listen 'cos otherwise the Chief's gonna be on my ass all day… Derek, you're in 58G with Angie and Leslie… Erm Heather you're in 49B with Adel. Oh yeah and I'm with Victor…" Tyler laughed happily, obviously pleased to have some good old quality time tormenting 'his favorite researcher'. Derek grimaced, knowing perfectly well that he would be subjected to a lot of talk about shoes, clothes and make-up. Meanwhile Heather pondered her seating partner; she didn't know Dr Adel Tulba very well at all and had only ever seen him in passing once or twice. She shrugged inwardly knowing there were probably worse people to a total of eighty six hours with.


She made her way slowly through the shifting crowd, towards the door to which might lead to her seat where she hoped to find some peace and quiet before the conference began properly at 10am. Entering the grand conference hall always made her gasp at it's enormous scale and grandeur; the cavernous room with tiered seats, almost like the stands in a stadium, towering upwards, totaling 60 rows of 26 plush seats was a feat of designing genius.

She climbed the stairs up past 48 rows, and tried not to sigh in annoyance as she realized she wasn't the first employee of Caduceus to arrive. Adel was already sat down, marveling at the sheer size of everything.

"Of course, this is his first conference of this size." Heather remembered, and cleared her throat gently so she didn't startle the surgeon.

"Oh! My apologies… is this your seat?" he stammered, standing up to move for her.

"No, it's ok, this is my seat." She said, smiling her first genuine, unforced smile in four months as she sat down next to Adel.

"You are Heather aren't you?"

"Yes that's right, and you're Dr Tulba?"

"Just call me Adel," he smiled sympathetically at her, "I heard about your mother, I'm sorry… I know how awful you must be feeling,"

"How can you possibly understand?" Heather muttered under her breath, however Adel heard her.

"I understand because I lost both my parents and three siblings by the age of 18." He replied quietly, staring Heather straight in the eye, forcing her to look down.

"I- I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that… but sometimes it's hard to remember that other people have been through what I have." She whispered, completely mortified at herself; but to her surprise Adel just laughed.

"It's ok Heather, it's not your fault, you didn't know." He smiled at her again, warmth shining in his dark eyes, leaving Heather no choice but to grin in response. She felt that she could be herself with Adel… He understood her. They chatted idly until the conference began and even during the speakers, including Dr Melanie Sharp from Scotland and Dr Jean-Claude LeBlanc from France, Heather could not concentrate on anybody but the man sat next to her… and he appeared to have the same problem, the pair of them giggling like schoolchildren every time their eyes met.


At 1pm, the doctors had a two hour break to eat and generally recuperate before another three hours of tedium. Heather and Adel walked to a nearby café to meet the rest of their friends, only to find that they had all been delayed in leaving the conference hall after Victor had nearly punched Tyler. Leslie phoned Heather on her cell to tell her and Adel to bag a table for them. The pair sat outside in the midday sun, their chatting getting more and more relaxed by the second, until Heather said something that would change her life forever.

"This is almost like a date isn't it?" She instantly told herself to shut up but the damage had been done. Adel looked at her intensely.

"If you want it to be," he said seriously, no sign of the laughter that was evident in his face moments before. He hesitantly reached out and lightly touched her hand, sending shivers up her spine. She gazed up at him in wonderment.

"Hey guys we're here!" someone shouted from the other side of the café; it appeared that the others had arrived. Adel leaned down and whispered in Heather's ear,

"Can I see you tonight?" he breathed, anxiously looking for Heather's reaction. She nodded and smiled, happiness glowing in her eyes.

Ok that's the pairing... I MADE IT UP!! Anyway please R+R!!